The weather may have been frightful, but that didn’t stop people from coming out to take part in the annual Gord Roberts Memorial Blue Knuckle Derby.
People came from all over the Kootenays, the Okanagan, even Alberta, in order to take part in the event.
The derby was originally created by Gord Roberts and his wife Tracey, out of their store, Blue Jay Sport and Marine.
“When we had our store here in Nakusp, and you always had tourism in the summer time,” said Tracey. “Gord thought we needed to do something in the winter, so the Blue Knuckle Derby came about.”
Gord passed away suddenly about five years ago, and Tracey was contacted to see if it was okay to bring the derby back in his memory.
About 125 tickets were sold for the event this year. Some fishermen take part every year, others got to experience the derby for the first time.
“I’d never heard of it until this year,” said Joseph Taylor. “My buddy Shea fishes out here all the time, he’s got family here. We decided to come out here, do some fishing, and just get away.”
The fishermen enjoy the fact that the derby brings people into the community.
“It brings money into the community, it brings out community spirit, and it’s great fishing.” said Shea Mollerude.
Along with the derby itself, a dance was held on Saturday night.
A small fridge was auctioned off at the dance, with a variety of alcohol and spirits to go with it. In total, $850 was raised, with all the proceeds going toward the Gord Roberts Memorial Bursary.
“Gord always said that education was very important, and always told our kids that they needed to get an education,” said Tracey. She said the village helps the Roberts family with the derby, so the family is helping somebody with their education.
Organizing the event takes a lot of time.
“It’s worked on all year, getting prizes, getting sponsors, and we now have the Gord Roberts Memorial Bursary, so we have to try and find ways to raise money for that as well,” said Ashley Schmidt, Gord and Tracey’s daughter. “It’s a year-long event, pretty much.”
The weigh-in for the fish takes place at the Roberts’ former store.
On Sunday there was coffee available along with chili, buns, and homemade chocolate bark, all made by Schmidt.
Prizes for first second and third place included gift baskets, a certificate, and money.
This year’s first place winner was Jesse Martin, who pulled in a 15 lb. 2 oz. dolly on Saturday. Second prize went to Ben Tober, who pulled in an 11 lb. 8 oz dolly. Third place went to Brent Vickery, with an 11 lb. 4 oz. dolly.
There were some issues in launching this year. Water levels at the marina were too low for boats to launch, so Isaque and Carla Vieira made a launch by their property to help out.
The Roberts family is happy so many people came out to support the derby, and look forward to next year’s event.